By Randy Gregory
As has been the case for several decades, the 2012-13 wrestling season began at Rockford High School on Thursday, November 29th with the intrasquad Orange & Black meet. The Rams use the meet to set the lineup for the inaugural meets of the season. The winning wrestlers will take to the mat for the season’s regular season kickoff at Greenville on Wednesday, December 5th. Wrestlers who came up on the short end of the stick are however given chances to challenge for the lead spot several other times over the course of the season.
The results of the meet produced some surprises and left the Rams with a lineup that has a nice mix of upper and underclassmen. Several of the wrestlers are in the very preliminary stages of preparing for the rigors of the wrestling season after just recently finishing another lengthy tournament run with the football team.
“We lost a few kids who started last year and could have been starting this year as well,” said Rockford coach Brian Richardson. “But we also had several young guys cracking the lineup and that is always exciting. We were proud of the fact that we tied for the OK Red championship and a district crown last year, but we also realize we will need to establish a new identity this season.”
Leading the way for the Rams at the Orange and Black meet were all four of the team captains. Seniors Jake Schneider (125) and Trevor Bopp 189) will be joined at the helm by juniors Stephen Jendritz (112) and Brandon Houle (215). Other seniors posting wins were Mikah Hobson (130), Braden Zych (135), Jake Elkins (140), Luke Bera (145) and Colton Sensiba (285). Collin Curtiss was the only other junior to triumph with a win at 152 pounds. And lastly, sophomores Jared Bennett (103) and Nick Guerra (160) will be joined by a pair of freshmen in Austin Howard (119) and Michael August (171).
“It was nice to see a kid like Jake Schneider stepping up as a senior tonight,” said Richardson. “He has taken his share of lumps in the past but has seized an opportunity he may not have had in the past. And the same could be said for Luke Bera as well. Nick Guerra worked his tail off to get into the starting lineup too. It is a testament to his determination for him to achieve that goal.”